AMONG the prominent Asian business families in the UK, Apurv and Alka Bagri are distinct in an important respect – they put a huge amount of effort into developing the arts.
There are “his and hers” areas of responsibility in the running of the family’s charitable Bagri Foundation – Apurv’s passion is education while Alka’s is the arts. “I just do what I do, and I do it with 100 per cent of my heart and soul in it,” confides Alka.
Meanwhile, as president and CEO of the metals trading group Metdist, Apurv might be – as his wife says – “a hardcore businessman”, as was his late father, Lord Raj Bagri, who came from Calcutta (now Kolkata) in 1959 and went on to become the chairman of the London Metal Exchange for 10 years, the first Indian to hold the post. A copper engraving with his image was unveiled in his memory at the exchange on October 9 this year.
Apurv, who will turn 60 next year, is chairman of governors at the London Business School, where there is a chair in economics established in his father’s name. He will forever remain his father’s son: “There are lots of families here who do great work and who have the capacity to spend 10 or 20 times what we spend. But the thing I am proud of in our family is the great legacy of compassion that my dad has left us, and his belief that doing well was about doing good.”
Alka agrees: “Yes, creating wealth is important; yes, creating a success in your business is important… but we need something to nourish our souls.” She and Apurv are perfect partners: “My field is completely art, while major funding for education is done by Apurv because he understands education